• Motivating Humanity
    In Ansgar Lyssy & Christopher Yeomans (eds.), Kant on Morality, Humanity, and Legality: Dimensions of Normativity, Palgrave. pp. 111-130. 2021.
  • Pflichten in Ansehung der Tiere
    In Jean-Christophe Merle & Carola von Villiez (eds.), Zwischen Rechten und Pflichten – Kants ›Metaphysik der Sitten‹. pp. 319-330. forthcoming.
    partial translation of "Duties Regarding Animals" (Kain 2010), translated by Jena-Christophe Merle and Diogo Campos Sasdelli
  •  1
    Kant on Animals
    In Peter Adamson & G. Fay Edwards (eds.), Animals: A History (Oxford Philosophical Concepts), Oxford University Press. pp. 211-232. 2018.
    This chapter focuses on Kant’s position concerning the nature of nonhuman animals and the moral obligations that humans have toward animals. It begins by describing Kant’s account of the nature of animals and the distinction between humans and nonhuman animals. It then moves on to explaining Kant’s account of the nature of moral obligation and his oft-misunderstood contention that we do not have “duties to” nonhuman animals but only “duties with regard to” these animals. The chapter corrects the…Read more
  •  144
    Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief contains fourteen original essays by philosophers, theologians, and social scientists on challenges to moral and religious belief from disagreement and evolution. Three main questions are addressed: Can one reasonably maintain one's moral and religious beliefs in the face of interpersonal disagreement with intellectual peers? Does disagreement about morality between a religious belief source, such as a sacred text, and a non-religious belief source, such …Read more
  •  13
    Dignity and the Paradox of Method
    In Elke Elisabeth Schmidt & Robinson dos Santos (eds.), Realism and Antirealism in Kant's Moral Philosophy: New Essays, De Gruyter. pp. 67-90. 2017.
    In this paper, I advocate a value realist interpretation of Kant’s ethics by examining, in some detail, both Kant’s discussion of the grounding of the moral law in Groundwork II and his discussion of the “paradox of method” in the Critique of Practical Reason. On a plausible reading of both the Groundwork and second Critique, Kant maintains that human beings, and more generally, rational beings, have dignity or inner worth. We cognize through the moral law that our existence and inner value is t…Read more
  •  1
    Moral constructivism is the thesis that values or normative standards for action are not discovered by reason but are the products of rational construction and thus lack mind-independent reality. Many recent commentators and leading proponents of Kantian ethics have suggested that, in virtue of his conception of autonomy, Kant was a moral constructivist. Contrary to these interpreters, I argue that Kant was not a constructivist Kant's moral theory does centrally involve autonomy which he takes t…Read more
  •  129
    Realism and anti-realism in Kant's second critique
    Philosophy Compass 1 (5). 2006.
    This critical survey of recent work on Kant's doctrine of the fact of reason and his doctrine of the practical postulates (of freedom, God, and immortality) assesses the implications of these doctrines for the debate about realism and antirealism in Kant's moral philosophy. Section 1 briefly surveys some salient considerations from the first Critique and Groundwork. In section 2, I argue that recent work on the role, content, "factual" nature, and epistemic status of the fact of reason does no…Read more
  •  6
    The Development of Kant's Conception of Divine Freedom
    In Brandon Look (ed.), Leibniz and Kant, Oxford University Press. pp. 293-317. forthcoming.
    In his lectures, Kant suggested to his students that the freedom of a divine holy will is “easier to comprehend than that of the human will,”(28:609) but this suggestion has remained neglected. After a review of some of Kant’s familiar claims about the will (in general), and about the divine holy will in particular, I consider how these claims give rise to some initial objections to that conception. Then I defend an interpretation of Kant’s conception of the divine will, and of its historical …Read more
  •  165
    Kant's defense of human moral status
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (1): 59-101. 2009.
    The determination of individual moral status is a central factor in the ethical evaluation of controversial practices such as elective abortion, human embryo-destructive research, and the care of the severely disabled and those in persistent vegetative states. A review of recent work on Kant reveals the need for a careful examination of the content of Kant ’s biological and psychological theories and their relation to his views about moral status. Such an examination, in conjunction with Kant ’s…Read more
  •  39
    Prudential Reason in Kant's Anthropology
    In Brian Jacobs & Patrick Kain (eds.), Essays on Kant's Anthropology, Cambridge University Press. pp. 230--265. 2003.
    Within the theory of rational agency found in Kant's anthropology lectures and sketched in the moral philosophy, prudence is the manifestation of a distinctive, nonmoral rational capacity concerned with one's own happiness or well-being. Contrary to influential claims that prudential reasons are mere prima facie or "candidate" reasons, prudence can be seen to be a genuine manifestation of rational agency, involving a distinctive sort of normative authority, an authority distinguishable from and …Read more
  •  60
    Essays on Kant's Anthropology (edited book)
    with Brian Jacobs
    Cambridge University Press. 2003.
    Kant's lectures on anthropology capture him at the height of his intellectual power. They are immensely important for advancing our understanding of Kant's conception of anthropology, its development, and the notoriously difficult relationship between it and the critical philosophy. This 2003 collection of essays by some of the leading commentators on Kant offers a systematic account of the philosophical importance of this material that should nevertheless prove of interest to historians of idea…Read more
  •  52
    This essay addresses the relationship between Kant's theory of moral motivation and theories of normativity. Constructivist or "ideal agent" theories of normativity claim that what makes a principle normative is that rational agents endorse or possess a motive of a certain kind to comply with it, or that they endorse or possess such a motive to comply with it insofar as they are rational. Korsgaard has argued that Kant's "motivational analysis" of the concept of obligation in Grundlegung I pro…Read more
  •  27
    Kant’s Ethical Thought (review)
    International Studies in Philosophy 36 (1): 366-368. 2004.
  •  19
    review of Allen Wood, Kantian Ethics (review)
    Philosophical Review 119 (1): 104-108. 2010.
  •  98
    Duties regarding animals
    In Lara Denis (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide, Cambridge University Press. pp. 210--233. 2010.
    A better appreciation of Kant’s commitments in a variety of disciplines reveals Kant had a deeper understanding of human and non-human animals than generally recognized, and this sheds new light on Kant’s claims about the nature and scope of moral status and helps to address, at least from Kant’s perspective, many of the familiar objections to his notorious account of “duties regarding animals.” Kant’s core principles about the nature of moral obligation structure his thoughts about the moral s…Read more
  •  21
    Der Charackter der Gattung
    In Otfried Höffe (ed.), Immanuel Kant: Schriften zur Geschichtsphilosophie, Akademie Verlag. 2011.
    In the concluding section of his *Anthropology* textbook, Kant offers the outlines of a portrait of the human race and of its collective character and vocation. The section is of interest for students of Kant’s Geschichtsphilosophie because of what it reveals about Kant’s conception of human progress, and the processes responsible for it. On Kant’s view, we can only expect collective progress through incremental political reform, and our expectation of progress rests significantly upon our own,…Read more
  •  13
    Kant's Lectures on Anthropology: A Critical Guide ed. by Alix Cohen (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (2): 339-340. 2016.
    For over two decades, Immanuel Kant offered a lecture course on the subject of anthropology. In 1997, a German critical edition of several different sets of student notes from this course was published, and a large selection of these notes was translated into English in 2012. The collection of thirteen new essays under review is a significant contribution to the growing literature that makes use of this lecture material to understand Kant’s anthropology in particular and to flesh out other parts…Read more
  •  170
    Self-legislation in Kant's moral philosophy
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 86 (3): 257-306. 2004.
    Kant famously insisted that “the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislative will” is the supreme principle of morality. Recent interpreters have taken this emphasis on the self-legislation of the moral law as evidence that Kant endorsed a distinctively constructivist conception of morality according to which the moral law is a positive law, created by us. But a closer historical examination suggests otherwise. Kant developed his conception of legislation in the context…Read more
  •  57
    Interpreting Kant's theory of divine commands
    Kantian Review 9 128-149. 2005.
    Several interpretive disagreements about Kant's theory of divine commands (esp. in the work of Allen Wood and John E. Hare) can be resolved with further attention to Kant's works. It is argued that Kant's moral theism included (at least until 1797) the claim that practical reason, reflecting upon the absolute authority of the moral law, should lead finite rational beings like us to believe that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and holy being who commands our obedience to the moral law and…Read more
  •  105
    Practical Cognition, Intuition, and the Fact of Reason
    In Benjamin Lipscomb & James Krueger (eds.), Kant's Moral Metaphysics: God, Freedom, and Immortality, De Gruyter. pp. 211--230. 2010.
    Kant’s claims about supersensible objects, and his account of the epistemic status of such claims, remain poorly understood, to the detriment of our understanding of Kant’s metaphysical and epistemological system. In the Critique of Practical Reason, and again in the Critique of Judgment, Kant claims that we have practical cognition (Erkenntnis) and knowledge (Wissen) of the moral law and of our supersensible freedom; that this cognition and knowledge cohere with, yet go beyond the limits of, ou…Read more